Love need not know any boundaries or norms; love can never be inappropriate unless it hurts another or dishonours your commitment to someone

There are two kinds of romantic love — one that makes homes, another that breaks them! The first is the result of the natural nesting instinct of all living beings. You grow up and find your feet; then you look for someone to share your life with. The natural urge for procreation sharpens senses, and the hunting instinct takes over as one looks for the right mate to have children and share our future with. You have waited for the right time and taken an informed decision to enter the next phase of life. Appropriate love.

Then there is love that breaks moulds and upsets settled patterns. Love that doesn’t follow societal norms and is considered inappropriate — for instance, extramarital love. A happily married person is as vulnerable to indulge in an affair on the side as one who is unhappy and needs a distraction. A wellsettled, happy life that doesn’t offer too many challenges leaves the mind free to be seduced by unexplored vistas. When the mind doesn’t challenge itself, nor are you engaged in something that stretches your mental boundaries, romance is an attractive option to fill the gaps.

On the other hand, someone who is unhappy with his or her personal life and relationships is also ripe prey for an attentive and sympathetic soul. Stuck in an unhappy relationship, he or she is happy to have a distraction that helps soothe the jagged edges of a stressful marriage and brings in moments of muchneeded happiness and peace. Inappropriate love!
What would you do if in your vulnerable moment you fell in love with a married man or woman? Or, if years later, you realized the man or woman you are married to is inappropriate for you?

“If someone had warned me about him 12 years ago, I would never have married Ranjan,”confessed Radha in one of those girly heart-to-hearts. “He is just so unsuitable for me!”

I am sure if someone were to ask Ranjan, he may have the same sentiment to express about his wife of 12 years.

Twelve years is a rather long time for a couple not to realise their ‘inappropriateness’ for each other. But I wonder how Radha would have responded if someone had pointed out their unsuitability while they were still in the first flush of love. Undoubtedly she wouldn’t have taken it positively. Did love iron over the ‘inappropriateness’ initially and then as it evaporated, allowed cracks in the relationship to show up?     What would you do if you found yourself in love with an ‘inappropriate’ person? Who is ‘inappropriate’ or rather, who decides who is appropriate? In Kuch To Log Kahenge, a popular serial on Sony TV, surgeon Dr Ashutosh and his junior by 22 years, Dr Nidhi are in love. Society frowns upon the age difference and they promise to try and forget each other. Is then a yawning age gap inappropriate? In another serial, Kya Hua Tera Wada, a female boss sets out to win back her former lover, now her junior and a married man. Is a boss-subordinate relationship inappropriate? Tom Cruise is 5’7” tall while former wife Nicole Kidman was 5’10”, and always chose to wear heels, a point of discord between them. Is a taller female partner inappropriate?

Smruthi, 28, a professor in Kannada was killed by her brother last month for marrying a Dalit. Is then, loving someone beyond your caste inappropriate? How about a very rich girl marrying a very poor guy, or an educated person falling for an unlettered one? Is that inappropriate?

How irreconcilable all the above differences are depends solely on the comfort level of the partners. However, when it comes to matters that involve the well-being of others, the decision of the appropriateness of a relationship goes beyond the concerned couple. For instance an extramarital affair, which puts at stake the happiness of others and breaks faith. Or someone in a disciplinary, authoritarian position involved with an underage ward. Or say, an incestuous relationship. To my mind these are the three possibilities where love can be inconvenient and inappropriate…

From attraction to obsession to attachment, love takes you through different stages — and though the thrill of the obsessive stage is seductive, it is soon followed by the reassuring warmth of emotional bonding!

Very soon, we will have hourly inflation updates. Especially for hot cooked love. But wait – we get ahead of the story. Which actually started when a love cost less than 5/- ringgit.

The quantities you get when you order in appear to be much more than when you polish your trousers on their real estate, usually accompanied with uncomfortable chairs. And, a friend who runs a very huge chain tells me the reason is simple – serve less, and the customer will eat quickly, move on. Make the client feel guilty, waiting is not his role, he may soon move into self-service. And remove the chairs. Charge extra if somebody wants one.

Incidentally, he is also thinking of putting an extra charge for dine-in customers, like on mobile phones. Or taxiis. By the seconds. I wonder how he will do it. A meter to carry in, flag down? Per table? Per person? Senior citizen discount? Happy hours? Premiun for window seats? Suggestions invited. You heard it here first.Wouldn’t it be nice if in real life too one could stay stuck forever in love’s obsessive state — where every footfall announces a lover’s visit, each whisper shivers down the spine, and any sound seems sweet as a nightingale’s song! A state of constant edge-of-seat excitement and suspense, not knowing what further delights the next moment will unfold!

This of course is the second stage of falling in love, as enumerated by love researcher Helen Fisher of Rutgers University in New Jersey. The first stage is the phase of attraction, when you first find yourself drawn by and interested in another. In men this is typified by lust, a sexual attraction often fueled by visual interest; in women, it is often the result of a man’s interest in them, or his intellect, power or status. This stage quickly gives way to the obsessive second stage when hormones rage uncontrollably, keeping one on a perpetual high, with senses as though ‘of hemlock… drunk’. Every thought is of the beloved, each waking moment a bated breath, and sleep just an excuse to dream some more!

Science has established the actual chemical changes that take place in the obsessive state of love. The release of Dopamine gives one the same high as being on cocaine or nicotine. Adrenaline that courses through the veins increases heartbeats and is responsible for the restless excitement. Levels of seratonin take a dip, which is what makes the initial stages of love akin to the symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – sleeping less, eating less, obsessively thinking of the lover and a constant living in wait of the next meeting!

With such excitement-inducing chemicals, is it surprising that one would like to stay in this state forever? Maybe one should end affairs the moment they start, because the fun is actually already over by the time real romance begins; it is teetering on the edge of the precipice that gives one the highs, much more than the free fall into an abyss! And as a colleague said wistfully, if this phase just has to end, wouldn’t it be nice to quit a relationship at the stage when romance quits, and fall all over in love again with someone else?! “That would be a nice way to hoodwink the natural progression of things and remain on a romantic high forever,” he grinned cockily.

But life is about moving on, not staying perched in one place. And so, in real life, as well as on the small screen, finally comes the day when romance is declared. By now the chemically-laden activity has settled down and you are able to focus on rest of life as well, apart from each other.

And now comes the critical third stage of love. Some couples discover that there is nothing left once the chemistry is gone; others find a confident, stable love takes over from an uncertain, excited and nervous romance. Hormones settle down and one reaches the next stage of love; Oxytocin, the chemical for warm bonding, takes over. This chemical is released during orgasm and also during childbirth and helps create bonds between a couple, who now transcend from obsession into a deeper and mature partnership. It is because of this quality of Oxytocin that physical contact, if indulged in a bit too soon in a relationship, can be misleading!

All three stages of love have their own unique characteristics and each prepares us for the next, logically falling in line with Nature’s natural plan of progression and procreation. Of course for those who would rather stay with the thrills and peaks rather than follow a steadier horizontal graph, my colleague’s suggestion of staying forever in the second stage of loving by jumping from one love to another, may be worth a try!

After all, the only thing you stand to lose is your sanity and credibility!

Can you add any others? 

Fake Love and Cheated by A Cheap Slut –Submitted on 2012/04/19 at 12:08 am

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